UPDATE: Prince, iconic 'Purple Rain' musician, dead at 57 - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Prince, iconic 'Purple Rain' musician, dead at 57

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UPDATE:  (NBC News) - Prince, one of America's most influential and enigmatic rock musicians, has died, his publicist told NBC News.

The announcement Thursday afternoon came a few hours after authorities in Carver County, Minnesota, responded to Prince's Paisley Park estate in the town of Chanhassen.

The 57-year-old Grammy-winning artist's death also came a week after his tour plane made an emergency landing in Illinois, where he was hospitalized with what was described as the flu. That illness followed him cancelling a pair of concerts in Atlanta.

Prince channeled the dance moves of James Brown, the guitar virtuosity of Jimi Hendrix and the theatricality of "Sgt. Peppers"-era Beatles.

But he was indisputably a singular figure in American music, mixing breakneck guitar solos, soaring falsettos, infectious melodies, provocative lyrics, acrobatic dance moves and outrageous costumes — which typically reflected his obsession with the color purple.

In the studio, he was a notorious perfectionist, playing almost all the instruments on his studio recordings. He nurtured generations of pop stars, including many who also came from Minnesota and his hometown of Minneapolis.

He toured the world many times over, but was also reclusive, puzzling fans with offbeat antics and offending traditionalists with his mix of religious and sexual themes.

The son of a jazz pianist, Prince was born Prince Rogers Nelson in June 1958, but changed names a number of times — including his head-scratching use of a glyph as the result of a dispute with his record company, which he used from 1993 to 2000. The symbol forced people to refer to him as "the artist formerly known as Prince."

He also toyed with people's conceptions of him, often appearing sexually androgenous.

He signed his first record contract as a teenager, and in 1978 released "For You," marking the start of a prodigious songwriting career in which he released 36 more albums over the following 37 years, ending with last year's "HITnRUN: Phase Two." Even then, the prolific pace could not keep up with his torrid speed; hundreds of recordings reportedly remain in his personal vaults.

Prince was a bona fide hit-maker from the start, but achieved superstardom in the 1980s, which saw the release of 1982's "1999," and, two years later, "Purple Rain," which sold millions. His top hits of that era included "Little Red Corvette," ''Let's Go Crazy" and "When Doves Cry."

He was also fiercely independent, often fighting with his corporate bosses, at one point comparing his relationship with Warner Bros. with slavery and refusing to release a new album. He later set up his own label, NPG, and released a three-disc album he called "Emancipation."

In 2014, he announced his return to Warner Bros, a deal that granted him ownership of his old master recordings and set off the reissue of several of his early albums.


PREVIOUS STORY: (KARE) - Carver County officials say a death investigation is underway at the home studio of Minnesota's beloved Prince. 

The Carver County Sheriff's Office reports authorities are currently at the scene and say they are working to notify next of kin before releasing any more information.  

Authorities have not released an identity or any information surrounding the circumstances of the death. 

Medical emergency personnel responded to the scene around 9:43 a.m., on a medical call where someone was reportedly not breathing. At 10:08, the medical examiner was called to the scene.  No other information was released. 

Prince was hospitalized earlier this week after his plane made an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois. 

We have crews on the way and will report the latest information, as soon as it's available. 

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